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Fund-raising success announced
By Stephanie Cesca
London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Centre announced yesterday that $87 million has been raised towards the $150 million needed for restructuring.
"This is really a day of celebration for us," said Cliff Nordal, president and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph's Health Centre.
Nordal said volunteer campaign chairs have been working hard the past year and a half to raise money to improve health care at both hospitals.
"Our goal is to create an integrated system. And to accomplish this goal we are going to find ourselves very busy in the next few years."
Tony Dagnone, president and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre, said London will soon be home to new facilities and centres. "This is the largest and [most] complex project London hospitals have ever taken."
He said one master plan will cover the entire city. Among the many projects is a new emergency department at the LHSC university campus and a women's health pavilion.
Although there will be some dislocation of jobs, Dagnone assured there would be no job losses, only opportunities for increased employment. He said there will be $80 million of construction work on the market.
John Schuct, volunteer campaign chair for the LHSC Foundation, said the entire project, which should be completed by 2005, will cost approximately $360 million. The Ministry of Health has donated $210 million, which has left the hospitals with a $150 million bill.
Thus far, Schuct added, the campaign has received monetary gifts from corporations throughout the London community, but expects to reach out to the citizens of London in the future.
"The Ministry of Health is dedicated to ensuring the health needs of this province are met," said Dan Strasburg, spokesperson for the Ministry.
Strasburg added the Ministry is always pleased to fund projects committed to providing outstanding health care, such as this project in London. "As part of that, we spent more than $20 billion in health care in the province this year alone."
Ted Garrard, VP-external for Western, said the Richard Ivey Foundation is among the donors of this project, contributing $6.5 million two weeks ago.
"[The foundation] made a large donation to the hospital because of the important work the hospital is doing treating patients and doing research in Southwestern Ontario," he said.
Garrard added the money from the foundation would go specifically towards creating a heart institute at the university campus of the LHSC.
Ward 2 councillor Joe Swan said the City was one of the first contributors to this project. "We pledged $15 million over the next four years," he said. "I think we were really the kickoff for this campaign that is becoming a success."
Swan added he was pleased to hear the campaign was running smoothly. "We're just delighted. This is everything we really hoped for."